How Scotland’s media INVENTED a tear-sodden crisis of P1 assessment

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 ‘They don’t always report the news, though they like to pretend they do. Sometimes they just make it up.’

My own words a few days ago as the moral panic and scare story around hospital infections generated primarily by Reporting Scotland, became apparent:

How Reporting Scotland INVENTED a crisis of infected hospitals for us

Now, after Freedom of Information releases, we can see that the supposed widespread fear and anxiety, around the assessment of P1 pupils, last year, had all the lack of substance of most moral panics or scare stories. We’ve already reported today on the lack of evidence of parents, teachers or academics being sufficiently concerned as to write and condemn the testing, leaving us with only the unsubstantiated pronouncements of those typical moral guardians and careerists, opposition politicians, teacher union leaders, parent groups and those journalists imbued with unionist positions. See these for more detail:

Only 4 teachers write to Swinney or Sturgeon on the P1 tests and only one of those is opposed to them

Only two academics wrote to Swinney and Sturgeon on P1 testing, both to approve and one looking for a job

Only three parents write to Swinney or Sturgeon about P1 testing and none report a child stressed

Now everyone, including the Scottish Government, knows that an essentially media-bound frenzy is not the objective basis for a national review but such is its power, they agreed to one:


To repeat myself, this is a classic moral panic and a classic scare story with political and base human emotions, not science or reason, at its origin. The reporting and not the presence of fear and anxiety among pupils, parents and teachers, caused the inquiry.

In this case, unable to ‘lay a glove’ on the most competent and popular government in Scotland’s history, the corporate media in cahoots with the opposition parties and union leaders, is using Schools to conduct a proxy propaganda war against the whole idea of an independent Scotland capable of running its own systems.

When they cannot find a real problem within an infinitely improvable public service such as education or health, where such do often emerge, they are prepared to go well beyond any form of responsible journalism, to actually construct part of the reality of their readers’ lives.




9 thoughts on “How Scotland’s media INVENTED a tear-sodden crisis of P1 assessment

  1. Legerwood February 25, 2019 / 6:21 pm

    At the time when the media was reporting this issue in screaming headlines a lot of the ‘evidence’ of stress in children was based on a survey carried out by Connect, a parents group.

    Their survey was conducted via social media and gathered just over 300 responses. To put that in context there are around 600,000 pupils in our schools. The media concentrated on the narrative side of the responses but when you looked at what actual numbers were available they showed that over 90% of the children in the survey did not tell their parents about the tests beforehand and 75% never mentioned afterwards that they had sat them.

    In other words like children everywhere when asked ‘how was school today?’ The answer was ‘Fine’

    Of course this result was not mentioned in the reports at the time.

    I think I linked to the Connect survey on a previous article on this subject. Here is a link to their submission to a Holyrood committee on the issue of standardised assessments – link to the submission is within the page here:

    Liked by 4 people

    • Colin Lawrie March 1, 2019 / 7:08 am

      Agree entirely. Reporting Scotland surpassed themselves last night with a report about a police claim.that offensive behaviour at football was increasing but failed to make any reference to the repeal of the OBFA or who was responsible for it. The reporter went on almost to demand that the Scottish Government do something about it. I realise this is not quite the same as the total invention of a “crisis” but it clearly shows the political agenda of the BBC.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Alasdair Macdonald February 25, 2019 / 10:09 pm

    Currently, there is another moral panic making its third appearance – antisemitism in the Labour Party. It is being used principally to attack Mr Jeremy Corbyn and these baleful attacks are as vicious as those which were uniformly directed against him when he first became Leader of the Labour Party. Academic research on media attacks on Mr Corbyn indicated that he had suffered more than any other leading politician at any time.

    While Mr Corbyn might not be an ideal leader, his presence has encouraged a lot of people in England, who had been disillusioned with politics to engage. Interested, many actuall strongly oppose him on things like Brexit.

    I think that it is this re-engagement of people with politics and the opposition to the economic model that has reigned since the mid 1970s which is the main driver of the attacks. People like the Independent Group do not want people to engage participatively in politics or to make radical changes to economics.

    Corbyn has had little effect in Scotland, because since 2014, and earlier,people knew a different politics was possible.

    To return to the antisemitism claims, they are accepted as unexaminably true because Ms Luciana Berger and others have said they happened, whereas the views of the admirable Michael Rosen are brushed aside.

    For the avoidance of doubt, antisemitism is a nasty practice and should be called out and opposed on every occasion – as should racism, sexism, sectarianism, etc – but like any other allegations there has to be some evidence, some verification of it, and a sense of context.


    • Contrary February 25, 2019 / 11:09 pm

      Any kind of hate should be called out? As I had a, friendly, rant at a whining rangers supporting colleague the other day, ‘there is no reason to hate, there is no reason to shout it out, just don’t do it, both sides just stop, don’t do it, you don’t even know what the hate is about, you don’t know the reasons behind it, there is never any reason to hate’,,, etc. I sometimes wonder if people, in the footballing context, mistake a competitive feeling for hate – it’s all grossly mixed up.


  3. Contrary February 25, 2019 / 11:13 pm

    Lies lies lies, that’s all the establishment feeds us. History (recent-ish) of Westminster lies:

    Documentary, recent history and Scottish oil (subtitles)

    So, did the queen get coronated in Scotland at all? Does that mean she isn’t even our queen, because of the extreme elitism and snobbery of the British elite? Interesting thought.


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